Marble…it’s a hot topic. Marble countertops have garnered a great deal of passion from its consumers – both good and bad. Consumers rave and rage about this stone’s classic beauty. Why all the fuss? Google “marble countertops” you will be rewarded with a mass of pro and con lists that compare the responsibility required to maintain this surface to that of parenting. Much like a newborn baby, freshly installed marble countertops receive a great deal of oh’s and ah’s at its beautiful, yet delicate nature.
Let’s start with the pros:
Marble is cool. By cool we don’t mean popular (although it is). We mean that it remains at a cool temperature, as marble is not a conductor of heat. Take a trip to Europe and you will see that marble is a common feature in French bakeries. You don’t have to worry about your cookie dough overheating before it hits the oven.
Marble possesses a timeless beauty. The highly evolved limestone abounds in ancient European cities – a preferred medium for sculpture and building. Today, these structures still stand, with a patina that only grows more beautiful with age. You may think, if marble can last thousands of years, then my countertops will be fine! And you would be right…sort of. You see, your countertops will certainly withstand a stampede of hungry family members, but life will leave its mark. Note that we didn’t say “might,” it will. Staining and etching are common and unavoidable occurrences with marble countertops. Although it is a naturally occurring stone, as far as stone goes, it is soft and porous. However, frequent sealing can help the issue of staining and etching.
Be honest with yourself when you pose the question: can I handle a relationship with marble? Are you constantly picking up after yourself, or do you tend to deal with messes later? Will you appreciate the patina that develops with age – spilled wine, tomato sauce, even water? Yes, even water may leave a mark. If the sight of moisture rings sends you screaming for the hills – then perhaps natural marble just isn’t for you. Unless you want to make kitchen patrol your full time job as you follow everyone around placing coasters under their drinks, and catching rogue flecks of tomato sauce and wine from landing on your precious counters.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Marble might be for you if you can handle the occasional stain and etch, and you realize that marble is like a fine wine – it gets better with age. You also win the most relaxed person of the year award. And kudos to you! There is simply nothing like natural beauty of marble. Reminiscent of ancient European structures, French kitchens and bakeries, it can’t be beat! Well…almost.
You have probably already decided whether you are cut out for the marble life. Some people have an inborn inclination to marble, well aware of its high maintenance, but nothing else will do! If you have realized that your efforts are better spent focusing on tasks other than protecting your pristine marble, but you still dream of classic beauty, we have a solution! Certain granite, quartz, and solid surface slabs have an almost identical beauty and strength. They are tougher and can take a normal day’s beating; are lower in maintenance and appear so similar to marble they would be difficult to pick out of a lineup!
Cambria Torquay is an excellent quartz option that highly resembles natural marble, not to mention that quartz is virtually indestructible.
If your taste leans toward the whitest marble, Cambria White Cliff is another great option for your kitchen and bathroom countertops, and don’t forget about your bathtub!
In this example with stunning Corian Rain Cloud, the marble-esque material has been used for not only the countertops, but a beautiful backsplash.
LG Viatera Rococo represents the creamier side of marble style. This countertop is perfect for a rich and luxe space!
If Calacatta marble is all you dream about, get ready… now you can have it and eat off of it, too! Formica Calacatta Marble is virtually indistinguishable from the highly revered Calacatta marble, yet much simpler to maintain.
The bottom line is that there are no right answers to marble dilemma. This choice depends entirely on your personal requirements for style and functionality. We hope that this edition of “Marble 101” has given you a better understanding of the joys and requirements of natural marble, and the alternative options that are available.